We have this tendency to run when the pain hits. We want to shield ourselves from those really difficult situations that challenge us. There’s nothing wrong with that urge to hide either. In fact, it’s basic human nature to shut down around drama but I want to challenge you here. Has anyone noticed that the more they run from difficulties the more challenges seem to crop up in our lives?
Well…. the reason this happens is because trials and tribulations exist to test our resolve. We literally grow through what we go through. A humble truth I’ve learned over the years is we can’t savor the taste of something sweet without knowing bitterness. The Tao lines this concept out for us when it says:
“It is because everyone under Heaven recognizes beauty as beauty that the idea of ugliness exists.”-Tao Te Ching
We want our notions of absolute good or absolute bad to be validated but the fact remains they don’t exist beyond our perceptions of them. In every good there is some bad. Labels are circumstantial. When we know this to be true we naturally become more accepting of changes. Thus is the nature of walking in the way.
Good students realize even negative experiences are lessons we should study. That’s because it’s not what happens that matters but how we respond that marks our growth as human beings. If we can learn to accept that everything is in a constant state of becoming then we can learn to anticipate the ebb and flow in a much more involved way. This is the key to true initiation. When we recognize the tides we can develop an inner willingness to move with the rhythm and bring lasting peace into every situation.
Don’t misunderstand. We humans all want to live happy and be free of suffering but that doesn’t mean we always get what we want. Mystics get misconstrued when we hear of a perfect state of being because we instantly attach our own ideas of what that peaceful state looks like completely missing the point. To constantly chase after what we want and avoid what we don’t like is to miss huge chunks of life. When the Buddha taught that everything leans he was unmasking a profound truth:
“TAKE THE BITTER WITH THE SWEET”
Why cut ourselves off from the mystery of existence searching for definites or labelling things based on our personal tastes. Chances are labelling things only offers us a way to share ideas without capturing the essence of what we’re labelling. Life challenges us to bear with it and accept we may never find a conclusion. So… the next time you want to shut down around an experience by clinging to what you think it should be try pausing and questioning its nature. Instead of reacting in that old familiar way expolore what this ‘thing’ allegedly is.
By feeling the full range of human emotions and accepting they’re all a part of being alive we break up the pattern of avoiding struggle or chasing wants and desires. In many ways, this is how life challenges us to redefine real. After all, when has life ever fit into our preconceived notions to begin with?